It can be busy in the city of Singapore, people teaming in the city, the streets packed with pedestrians. The noisy bustle and hustle in the traffic, all trying to catch up with their daily activities. Nevertheless beyond this busy life lies a quite serene environment where you can enjoy simple life pleasures: farm-to –table food, a splash of hot- spring water and a forest hike.
Beyond the rustic island Pulau Ubin, lays Pauka Hill. Pauka Hill is located on the other side of the Pulau Ubin Island which is found between Singapore and Malaysia in the Johore Strait. The offshore rustic island is sought for its prized Check Jaw wetlands. You can enjoy some adventure when here: Take a hiking trail up the forested Pauka Hill, Ubin’s highest point. You can rent a bike from the ferry terminal and pedal past Jelutong Bridge where you can park the bike in a small clearing next to Merbah Hut.
Hiking Pauka Hill will be a 30-minutes climb that involves navigating rocky soil and thick forest, and however challenging it seems to be the panoramic view out over the gorgeous lake which was the former granite quarry is a million times worth it. It is a spectacle view to behold on a clear day, with the horizon extending all the way beyond to the Singapore’s business district and adjacent parts of Malaysia. It is however not advisable to hike the hill in the rain.
How to get there: Take a 10 minute bumboat out of $3 to access the Pulau Ubin via the Changi Point Ferry terminal and then hire a bike from there.
SEMBAWANG HOT SPRING
Singapore’s only hot spring ,simply delightful
Sembawang is Singapore’s’ only hot spring. It is located between army camps and an airbase in Sembawang. As the water from the hot spring flows freely from the taps, the smell of sulphur wafts in the air. This is not your normal hot-spring-with-luxury- lagoons, come with a bucket, collect water, pick your spot in the small boundaries of the scant fenced zone and soak your feet in the bucket to relax muscles and joints.
If you are asking do I really make the trip? I will tell you without doubt the trip to the hot spring is worth it and this is because the water is found to have three times more sulphide than tap water and is said to have medicinal properties. When you visit the hot spring find Peter who is the tasked with the venue’s daily upkeep. You will find him scrubbing the floor to remove algae residues using the sulphur goodness of athe water.
The Singapore government has recently made debate plans to turn the hot spring into a national park and while it is still not yet decided take your opportunity now and visit this hidden gem before the taps truly turn off forever.
How to get there: Take a bus 969 from Woodlands Avenue 7 from Admiralty train station. Alight outside Block 114 at Sembawang road and from here it will take a 5 minutes’ walk to Jalan Ulu Sembawang.
Honest, home-grown food—and truths—at Bollywood Veggies.
In Singapore agriculture forms less than 0.5 percent of the economy. Nevertheless the Kranji country side has lush fields that stretch beyond visibility. Though the many collection of the farms in the area one stands out for its eccentric signs and this is the Bollywood Veggies which is named after Singh- Lim’s Indian heritage.
At the gate you will be met by ‘Welcome to Paradise’ sign post. In addition there are more signs such as ‘Back to Nature is the future’ and ‘Make Gardens not war’ that reveal the farm as self-sustaining.
There lay flora and fauna on a 10 acre piece of land that is grown free from fertilizers or pesticides. There are beautiful flowers and leaves and you are allowed to pick but not the fruits. The fruits are harvested by the farmers of which some are used in delicacies such as nasi lemak (coconut rice with chicken and anchovies) and chicken curry at the farm-to-table bistro poison ivy. If you are in large groups, the staff will organize a visit to the museum where there are paintings that disclose the antiquity about food. You can spot 2 dogs roaming here, with the female one being shy.
How to get there: Take a shuttle bus to Kranji countryside from Kranji MRT station at $3 round trip.
In Singapore there are many little islands that get populated especially during the weekends. However beyond the Setosa Island beaches to the southerly St. John’s Island there is the Pulau Seringat an oft-forgotten isle that is inhabited by wildlife. It is located at the neighboring Lazarus Island.
The Pulau Seringat is a fit example of precise beauty, despite overhaul efforts to create man-made lagoons. When it is low tide, you can spot signs of marine life on the beaches including starfish, sea anemone and moon snails. The mangrove trees surrounding provide a nice background when the roots are exposed. Out of all the islands in the south accessible by ferry, this is one of the most untouched ones, so you can be free to explore amidst the tall grass and lavish foliage. However make sure you grab a bite in advance as there are no shops in the area. There has been a proposal of tourism projects on the island that include integrated results but the government is yet to actualize them so in the meantime the island remains an untouched splendor.
How to get there: Take a round- trip ferry from Marina South Pier to St. John’s Island costs $18.
In the Suburban west Singapore past a cluster of public housing flats you will come across a 42- hectare Bukit Batok Town Park. It is affectionately known by locals as Little Guilin; disused granite quarry was used in its formation and is similar to the granite rock formation in China’s Guilin Province. At the middle of the lake is a granite rock that is magnificent and taking a closer look you can see turtles tossing their heads up as they swim leisurely.
The park has 2 parts separated by a small granite rock hill, where people used to climb but access to it has been denied for some time. The two domed shelters are nice spots to take a rest as you marvel at the untouched surroundings. While here you will spot shutterbugs looking to capture nature’s finest as well as couples in a wedding shoot or spot joggers taking a leisure run. Are you looking for a secluded spot? Little Guilin has the perfect spot, at the left of the bank as you take the stairs , they will descend down to small clearing right next to the lake. It is important to remember that fishing is prohibited.
How to get there: From Bukit Gombak train station, little Guilin is a five minutes’ walk- take a right side on the stadium out front and follow the lead.